Beatrice Jona Affron
Music Director and Conductor
Beatrice Jona Affron first arrived at Pennsylvania Ballet in 1993 as Assistant Conductor. Later, she was promoted to Resident Conductor, and in 1997 she became the Company's Music Director and Conductor. Ms. Affron has conducted many ballets by George Balanchine and other classics, including Giselle, The Firebird, Romeo and Juliet, and The Sleeping Beauty. In 2004, she led the world premiere of Christopher Wheeldon's Swan Lake.
A native of New York City and a graduate of Yale University, Ms. Affron studied conducting privately with Robert Spano and at New England Conservatory (where she later served on the faculty) with Pascal Verrot. Ms. Affron also has worked with Gunther Schuller, Jorge Mester, and David Effron. In 1996, she received the Conductors' Guild Thelma A. Robinson Award. Her involvement in contemporary music has included conducting in the Music at the Anthology Series in New York City and leading the national tour of Philip Glass' Les Enfants Terribles in fall 1997. In 2002, Ms. Affron received international attention when she led the world premiere performances of Glass and Mary Zimmerman's Galileo Galilei at Chicago's Goodman Theater and on a tour to London's Barbican Theatre. Prior to that, Ms. Affron conducted the Boston Lyric Opera and Chicago Opera Theatre productions of Glass'Akhnaten. In 2005, she made her debut with the Glimmerglass Opera conducting a new production in French of Donizetti's Lucie de Lammermoor.
Ms. Affron's past engagements include Dominick Argento's opera Miss Havisham's Fire with Opera Theatre Saint Louis, Strauss' Die Fledermaus with the Boston Lyric Opera, and Hansel and Gretel and The Tender Land at New England Conservatory. She has conducted both dance and opera productions at The Boston Conservatory, and concerts with Boston's Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra and the Boston Landmarks Orchestra. In recent years, Ms. Affron has toured with Pennsylvania Ballet and led both the Kennedy Center Orchestra and the National Arts Center of Canada Orchestra. Ms. Affron is a regular guest conductor at Atlanta Ballet. She lives in Boston with her husband and daughter.